Can GGG stand for Great, Gregarious, Genial?
December 31, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe

What if I don't WANT to be GGG anymore? Is my marriage doomed?

Anonymous because my partner reads askmefi. When we got together seven years ago, my spouse and I were madly in love, had sex all the damn time, and pushed each other's boundaries (playing with bondage, video, heat & ice, etc.). Since then, he's developed a deep and abiding interest in exhibitionism and swinging which I no longer share. In the beginning, I was invested enough and head over heels enough that playing with others wasn't outside of my comfort zone by much. I've had a long-standing attraction to women, and we had one crazy fun three-way with an old friend. Then we had some other not-so-great experiences with internet-found people. They weren't bad, just not tittillating for me. The conclusion I've come to is that the fantasy of playing with/in front of others can be hot, but in practice it's frequently awkward, boring, and difficult to negotiate. My husband doesn't share this view and would very much like to be "doing crazy stuff all the time". I've given him carte blanche to play outside of our marriage, but he maintains that his fantasies center around me being super turned on by the whole thing. I'm not. I don't want to fake it. He won't let it go and asks me what he's supposed to do with all that fantasy energy. I'm almost done caring about this, which is a huge warning bell danger sign for me... not caring=not engaging=checking out=marriage over.

We have a toddler, which I think is a big contributing factor to my lack of libido... although, really, my libido's doing fine for one on one stuff, and my guy would turn me on a hell of a lot more if he'd drop the "let's have sex in front of other people" thing. I want to say "I'm checking out because I'm done having the same damn conversation over and over and wish you would just grow up and put this stuff away". However, I've read enough Savage Love to know that he's entitled to sexual fulfillment. But aren't I entitled to not feeling pushed about it all the time? It's a constant cloud over our relationship, and I'm tired of feeling guilty and inadequate.

I'm looking for advice on how to be the partner my partner wants... any advice on getting your mojo back after a baby? I'm in therapy, but my therapist says "you were in a crazy stage, now you're in a mom stage, there's nothing to be done". Which is all fine for me, but definitely not fine for my guy. How can I get back in touch with my inner fearless nympho?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think part of the deal of being parents, especially for the mother, is that life is particularly exhausting for you now. Life is definitely going to be different for a while. You shouldn't beat yourself up over this. Your husband also has to realize that being GGG in this stage of your life is next to impossible. Maybe you need to ask him to be GGG for your mom needs for a while? From what I hear, a caring, nurturing father and husband is a sexy one.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:54 PM on December 31, 2010 [20 favorites]


What about video? Would it work for your man if y'all videoed and released your sex? Choose angles where nobody can see your faces, wear masks, or blur faces to preserve your anonymity. Definitely exhibitionism, and it doesn't require all the negotiations/logistics with other people.
posted by Netzapper at 1:57 PM on December 31, 2010


It's his turn to be GGG. You've got a toddler, and it's understandable that right now you're feeling the need to have more of your energy *and* his energy focused in on the family instead of the outside. You're still turned on by him and doing fine one on one, so your nympho is still fine. It just needs a little bit more nurturing in the home right now. It's not the end of the world. Taking a break from the other stuff doesn't mean taking it off the table forever. In a couple years, you might be into it all over again!
posted by stoneweaver at 1:58 PM on December 31, 2010 [24 favorites]


Maybe couples counseling with someone who is comfortable working with people in non-traditional relationships? A database of such folks can be found here.
posted by the_bone at 1:59 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know, man. I've never had a toddler, but I think being constantly pressured, guilted, and whined into sexual acts I didn't like and didn't want, and having the things I DID want withheld and ignored or done grudgingly, would be THE biggest libido killer possible for me.

Part of this issue may be that you have a lower libido, and I can't speak as to whether or not you can raise it if you do.

But I don't think the WHOLE problem is a lowered libido. I think the problem is that you had a bunch of not-great experience that you found awkward, boring, and difficult to negotiate. And rather than deal with that and try to solve those problems, or making a compromise by only playing with good-friends (an experience you enjoyed), your husband seems to have totally steamrolled over all that in the quest to get his libido serviced to the max.

It's so weird that when he says his fantasies center around you being super turned on by the whole thing, he's not actually thinking about you at all! He's not thinking, "let me find out what turns on my wife and make sure I do those things." He's thinking about his own fantasies and how to clear your pesky wants and needs out of the way to get them fulfilled.

To him, your wants and needs are an obstacle on the way to his own sexual pleasure.

I don't think you have to say to him "I'm checking out because I'm done having the same damn conversation over and over and wish you would just grow up and put this stuff away."

Meaning, I don't think it's good to disparage his own sexual desires as something that's just juvenile that he should just give up on. That's not really fair.

But I DO think you can have a talk to him about how the things you need/want to happen sexually, and the things you need/want to NOT happen sexually, appear to be incompatible. How you aren't going to force/pressure him into anything, and you don't want him to force/pressure you. How it's a big, BIG problem for you when he does try to pressure you. And how, rather than doing that to each other, it may be best to go your own separate ways when it comes to that.

I've tried very hard not to rant about Dan Savage in this post, but I do have to say, I think he's created a generation of young women who think they have to submit to unpleasant/unwanted sexual acts or else they are bad, selfish, horrible people. What that is going to do IMO in 10 to 15 year's time is create a lot of sexless marriages and divorces as the girls have turned into women who have had enough of giving what they don't want to give, and just decide not to do it anymore.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:03 PM on December 31, 2010 [152 favorites]


I doubt this is the answer you want, but I'm going to go ahead and say it.

He's a grown ass man, and, IMHO, if your marriage is worth saving, he should love you more than he loves having sex with other people while you lustily look on. You just had a baby, for god's sake; for now at least, he can take that all that "fantasy energy" to the bathroom, with a bit of lube and perhaps a dirty magazine. Rather than trying so hard to be the partner he wants, maybe he should consider being the partner you need right now.
posted by faeuboulanger at 2:06 PM on December 31, 2010 [15 favorites]


It's interesting; this week's Savage Love actually addresses a related situation, albeit one in which the swinging/exhibitionism was only ever fantasy, not real, and the couple are long-term boyfriend/girlfriend, not married. Might be a tangentially useful read, though!
posted by limeonaire at 2:07 PM on December 31, 2010


(But Ashley801's advice above is probably better than Dan Savage's in this case!)
posted by limeonaire at 2:09 PM on December 31, 2010


GGG is a great concept. But I think it only works in situations where the thing you're being GGG about is a one-time or temporary thing, or something that your partner is into but isn't a necessary component of all sexual interactions. GGG doesn't mean "carte blanche for your partner to be completely in the driver's seat in re your sex life, forever, regardless of your preferences". GGG doesn't mean you're signing over your body to your partner.

Your husband needs to understand that, right now, the swinger/exhibitionism thing needs to be put on hold. It's something that no longer interests you, in an area of your life that has to be tabled while you deal with raising a toddler.

I'd also suggest couples or sexual counseling if actually participating in exhibitionism in this very specific way which requires not only your participation but your explicit enjoyment is the only way he can get off. I'm as kinky as the next person, but sometimes keeping a fantasy as just a fantasy for a little while can be a good thing. It's a cliche, but the brain is the ultimate erogenous zone.
posted by Sara C. at 2:13 PM on December 31, 2010 [14 favorites]


I've read enough Savage Love to know that he's entitled to sexual fulfillment. But aren't I entitled to not feeling pushed about it all the time?

Uh, yeah. You are. Nthing counseling.
posted by hansbrough at 2:26 PM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


He is being a jerk. His fantasy energy needs to go towards people who consent happily. You are being GGG by letting him play without you. He is being pushy. You need a couples counselor ASAP. If you are in NYC I can recommend a good one who is open to non-monogamy and alternative sexual expression.

My suggestion to you is to refuse to discuss the issue until you're in front of a professional. You need a break. If he can't respect that boundary and keeps pushing, speak to a lawyer about divorce.

My perspective is that of someone who is far more out-there than my partner as well as a non-monogamous person. I still think your husband is out of line. Please mefimail me if you ever want to talk about it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:27 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


GGG is defined as 'good in bed,' 'giving equal time and equal pleasure,' and 'game for anything—within reason.'"

If you are feeling harassed into sexual acts you find unappealing to repulsive (e.g., libido killing), then that is not within reason. Your partner needs to listen to you and respect your boundaries. BTW, you are not morally obligated to be okay with him going outside your relationship.
posted by zia at 2:39 PM on December 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


Also much of the problem is that a single guy has a relatively difficult time finding people to play with. The swinging scene is like that as far as I know. I am not a swinger so can't do more than recommend the polyamorous percolations forum which is less sexist by far than the big swingers forums, but has swingers and is welcoming to monogamous people.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:41 PM on December 31, 2010


P.S. The situation limeonaire linked is interesting, and I agree that it is related to your situation and might be useful for your situation to discuss.

You've said you've read enough Dan Savage to know what your husband is entitled to. So, I think you might have taken to heart a lot of his ideas. I kind of want to go back through that particular situation in the link, because it is a good example of the kinds of ideas he puts forth, and it might be helpful to unpack some of those.

Now, I know you're not doing it on purpose, NGE, and this is just how you feel, and feelings are sacrosanct lil' mysteries and there's nothing you can do about them

Idea 1: Your feelings are silly little things. Irrational, not worth worrying about. There's nothing you can do about them [subtext: though you probably should].

Reality: Your feelings are just as important as your husband's sexual fantasies.


Um... shouldn't falling in love, and the deepening feelings of trust and security that go along with that, open a couple up to new possibilities, new horizons, new sexual adventures?


Idea 2: Other people have the right to tell you what your sexuality should be like. And what you should do sexually if you really love someone.

Reality: Nobody is more of an authority on what you "should" like or be open to than you are. And loving someone doesn't mean you owe them anything sexually.

As for feeling unattractive, you should make him aware of your insecurities

Idea 3: If the fact that your partner is unable to get off unless they involve other people in some way makes you feel unattractive or displeases you in some way, or just bothers you, you are just insecure [immature, neurotic, uptight, etc.].

Reality: It is natural to not be that into having other people involved and the vast majority of people are only interested in 1-on-1 sex. It's not MORE natural than being into group play. Just equally, perfectly, natural.

He is who he is, he's turned on by what turns him on, and you knew that when you fell in love with him ... You have neither the right nor the power to reach into his erotic imagination and yank out the bits that conflict with your ideas of what sex is or should be when two people are in love.

Idea 4. We should be respectful of the sexuality of people who are into kinks and not try to change them, and go along with the things they want for the most part. It's also not okay to tell your partner what sex is or should be when their ideas conflict with yours. (But it is okay for Dan Savage to do this. )

Reality: Both partners should respect each other's sexuality and not try to change it, and either compromise with respect in a way that BOTH people are happy, or go separate ways.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:42 PM on December 31, 2010 [34 favorites]


Yeah, he needs to be GGG for *your* needs and desires.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:52 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've read enough Savage Love to know that he's entitled to sexual fulfillment. But aren't I entitled to not feeling pushed about it all the time?

Yes, absolutely. You are an amazing and loving person for having gone along with his desires this far; you are also completely entitled to ask for what you need at this time. He needs to turn it down a bunch of notches and focus on making things good for you rather than just getting his fantasies fulfilled.

I think Dan Savage makes some good points. But he's also really problematic, and the way his whole "GGG" thing gets used is one of them. There's no requirement for anyone to go along with anything they aren't into, whether it's once or every night. Period. And compromise doesn't mean splitting the difference, either. It means finding ways for the rewards to outweigh the irritations for both people.
posted by Forktine at 2:54 PM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've tried very hard not to rant about Dan Savage in this post, but I do have to say, I think he's created a generation of young women who think they have to submit to unpleasant/unwanted sexual acts or else they are bad, selfish, horrible people. What that is going to do IMO in 10 to 15 year's time is create a lot of sexless marriages and divorces as the girls have turned into women who have had enough of giving what they don't want to give, and just decide not to do it anymore

I just wanted to second this... although I wonder if it doesn't extend to some young men also.

The fundamental notion of GGG is great! But so often that little "within reason" part of the definition is taken for granted.

Dan Savage is a smart guy with a lot of good ideas, but he's no sexual saviour. I sometimes get the sense that he forgets relationships are about a whole lot more than sex for some of us. Pleasure is very important, but it isn't everything. Especially when children enter into the picture.
posted by faeuboulanger at 3:04 PM on December 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Um, excuse me? If I read you correctly, not only are you still sleeping with him discounting the fetish stuff but you're also letting him sleep with other people and the guy is still not happy? You're his wife, not his sexbot; the problem is your husband, not your libido.
posted by vanitas at 3:27 PM on December 31, 2010 [30 favorites]


I've read enough Savage Love to know that he's entitled to sexual fulfillment.

I like the idea of GGG, because I think it promotes generosity between partners, which is good. However, in some contexts, GGG talk can sound a lot like a high school boy complaining to his girlfriend about blue balls. There is a big difference between only permitting missionary position, lights off sex once a month and saying, "I'm not turned on by the idea of sex in front of or with other people." In other words, there's withholding sex or just being sexually incompatible and there's openly communicating your limits and desires with your partner and having to reach compromises.

It's problematic to say that your partner is entitled to sexual fulfillment if what you mean is, "My partner is entitled to whatever he wants, sexually." He's not. It's a partnership. On preview, vanitas sums up what I'm trying to say: You're his wife, not his sexbot. I think you need to find a way to shift the conversation away from his "This is my fantasy and I have a right to fulfill it!" attitude to "How can we, together, both of us, have a sex life that is as fulfilling as it can be for us as a couple?"
posted by Meg_Murry at 3:35 PM on December 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Here's a situation where the GGG thing is really useful: Bobby really loves blowjobs, and Susie says, "Ew! That's gross! I've never done it and I never will, ugh!" Savage says, "Susie, you've never even tried it. If it's something Bobby really cares about that much, don't you think you should at least try it?"

Here's another: Susie loves feet and wants nothing more than to lick Bobby's feet. Bobby says, "Ew! How could you want to do that!? That's degrading to both of us, and totally unnatural." Savage says, "Bobby, it doesn't matter what's natural, and if Susie wants it, then that's what Susie wants. Instead of moralizing, why not just let her do what's fun for her?"

The difference between those situations and yours? In both cases, the objecting party wouldn't even consider performing the desired act. They said "nonono!!!" without ever even trying it. The GGG concept is really useful when it comes to experimentation. But you've been more than willing and happy to experiment. You've never taken your partner's fantasies and denigrated them, denied them, or refused them. You've always been willing to try, and with great aplomb.

Being GGG doesn't mean allowing one partner's desires to completely overwhelm the others. Being GGG doesn't mean Susie can't say, "Okay, I tried giving you a blowjob because you wanted one so bad, but you know, I really didn't like it and I don't want to do it regularly." Being GGG doesn't mean Bobby can't say, "Well, you can lick my feet sometimes, but it's kind of a turn off for me, so it's not something I want to do that often." And being GGG certainly doesn't mean you can't say, "We've had some really fun times in the past, but I just don't feel like doing it now. I'm not saying never again, but, for now, given everything else in life and what parenthood has done to our relationship, I just don't feel like it."

In short, being GGG doesn't mean not having preferences of your own. You're justified in having the desires you have and, if your partner can't accept that, you two have larger problems than just sex.
posted by meese at 3:41 PM on December 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


Even Dan Savage would agree that this guy is out of line. Not to speak for him, but my impression was that when he goes on about GGG, what he means is, if you're going to be strictly monogamous, you owe it to your partner to try to accomodate sexual fetishes they can't get anywhere else. If you're letting him do his thing with others, that's enough GGG even for Dan Savage.

To put it one way, he basically has a fetish for you having no mind of your own and liking everything he likes and feeling pleasure when he does and doing anything he wants you to do. That's not a fetish to be GGG about, nor is it realistic. Obviously.

I suspect this has a lot to do with what the young rope-rider brought up; namely, it's easier for him to get into the swinging scene with you as his female partner vouching for him. Which is just icky. He needs a reality check.
posted by Nixy at 3:44 PM on December 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've tried very hard not to rant about Dan Savage in this post, but I do have to say, I think he's created a generation of young women who think they have to submit to unpleasant/unwanted sexual acts or else they are bad, selfish, horrible people.

Not just women. If you disagree with Savage -- male of female -- you're labeled a prude, selfishly depriving your partner.

Anyone who gives you the whole "Humans aren't meant to be monogamous" thing, rather than accepting that there's a wide range of human behaviors and that more than one of them might be healthy, doesn't know much about people. Any advice columnist who says this is a hack. Yeah, he's funny and I read him, but his advice is often poor and occasionally damaging.

Dan likes to talk poorly about Dr. Drew, but in this case, Dr. Drew would have far superior advice: "You're a parent now; your child comes first."
posted by coolguymichael at 3:46 PM on December 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Well my comment got removed and I'm not sure why. I said that the problem with fetishes and fantasies is that in the long run they are boring and tedious unless they're yours. This has been my experience and also the experience of numerous of my female friends. They go along with something because the guy wants to "just do it once" and then suddenly that is the only thing that can get him off and he's constantly bugging her to do it even though she didn't enjoy it the first time (the same thing may happen to guys but I don't sit around and discuss sex with guy friends the same way I do with women so I don't know). It sounds like the OP wasn't really all that into random group sex to begin with and didn't expect it to become the new norm in her life when she agreed to try it a couple times.

Getting back in touch with your "inner fearless nympho" requires you to have a level of trust and confidence in your partner to make sure you're satisfied and taken care of emotionally and it sounds like that trust is gone. If you can both agree to try some new things you're both comfortable with maybe you can get your couple mojo back but as long as he's pressuring you to do things you don't want to do this is just going to get worse.
posted by fshgrl at 4:03 PM on December 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


There is so much going on here. New parenthood is huge as others have said. You deserve a break. I think you're totally being GGG--not only have you consented to give his fantasies a whirl a couple of times, you've okayed him playing with others.

Count me as another data point that he need to grow the freak up and treat you with the same indulgence and respect that you've been showing him. I doubt there are many other women that would be so accommodating, GGG generation and love not withstanding.
posted by smirkette at 5:32 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I knew a guy in college, who through a couple years, and several college girl friends, was continually trying to arrange multi-person sex, to the point that I eventually refused to go to parties where I thought he'd show up, as I was 99% sure if he did, and I was with a date, he'd make a point of seeing whether he and his date, and me and mine were going to ""party down" as he nearly always put it. Every damn time.

I ran into him again, 6 years later, after he'd been to law school, set up a law practice, gotten married, and had a 3 year old kid, and he was still working the same act. Well before Savage/GGG, he'd obviously talked this woman into doing some multi-person sex, and even had her to the point where she was doing part of his spiel for him, whenever he broached the subject. But despite what her mouth was saying, her eyes would dart about nervously, as if she were terrified she'd have to carry through on such activities again. It was hella creepy, really, and I cut him and her a wide, wide berth ever after, until I moved out of their environs.

I've seen some of that kind of thing from other guys, since, and I guess there are just some guys to whom that fantasy/experience is so compelling, that they are going to be pushing for it, all their lives. They know it's not a terribly likely scenario under the best of circumstances, and they're essentially oblivious to whatever casual acquaintances may think of them for bringing it up frequently. They seem to operate on the assumption that in order to ever make it happen, they have to be looking for it, actively, all the time, and maybe, from their perspective, that's just what they have to do.

So, from my limited experience, I doubt that your husband is going to change his willingness to push for this, and I doubt he's going to be too successful in finding partners outside the marriage with whom he can then arrange further multi-person romps. If you really don't want to do these kinds of scenes any more, and don't want to be pushed to try regularly, then I think your marriage isn't going to survive.

Even though he's a new father, based on what I've seen, his needs for this particular form of activity may be strong enough, that he'll have trouble sublimating his desires for such, under whatever pleasures he may have as a husband and father. In the end, if he can't get you acting out his fantasies, his frustrations are likely to overcome his desire to be a husband and father, in an essentially conventional monogamous relationship.

Sorry, but that's my experience of the matter.
posted by paulsc at 7:39 PM on December 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dan Savage is just a guy, you know-- not the Pope, not the President, not your doctor, not your mom. He hasn't earned a degree in psychology or anything else relevant to human relationships or sexuality. To my knowledge, he's never been in a long-term heterosexual relationship. He's just a journalist with a witty style who writes columns that people find funny and titillating. None of his experiences make him at all qualified to dictate what sexual obligations you have to your husband, or what boundaries you should and should not set in your marriage.

The thing about marriage is: it's partly a sexual relationship, but it's also the foundation of a family. When, as in your case, you decide to add children to that family, then you take on the obligation to run the relationship in a way that's nurturing, stable and safe for them. I understand that various people on MeFi are huge proponents of polyamory, but regardless of whether you think that a healthy marriage is a faithful relationship between two, three, or four people, I think it's fair to say that a marriage full of temporary hookups with random internet acquaintances does not provide a stable, healthy relationship model for your child.

Sexual encounters create bonds. That's the way human beings are designed. Sexual encounters with a bunch of different people outside the marriage are eventually going to create jealousies or external emotional attachments, both of which are hugely destabilizing to your relationship with your husband. And if your husband says he's confident he can have all this random swinging sex without forming any emotional attachments... then it's OK for you to be married to someone who has loveless sex where he treats women as objects-- ok to have sex with your husband that has no emotional relevance for him at all?

Keep in mind that you two are modeling a relationship for your child (who will assuredly sense all of this drama even if (s)he's not actually around for the bedroom bits). Would you want your child to grow up forcing this behavior on an unhappy partner? Would you want him/her to be manipulated into it by somebody else? Is it fair to implicitly teach a child of either sex that men are owed limitless sexual gratification by women, or that no woman has the right to expect full commitment and fidelity from her husband?

I don't at all buy paulsc's contention that your husband is likely incapable of staying in the marriage unless you agree to act out his fantasies. I think a very firm and confident stance on your part, followed by a whole lot of marital counselling (with particular attention to the early life experiences that may have messed with both your and your spouse's internal models for healthy relationships) has every chance of doing some good. But even if the marriage proves unsustainable, it is of central importance for you to show both your child and yourself that you have the self-respect and inner strength to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationship. What your husband is doing is so far out of line, and it's really painful to see that you don't feel you deserve to put a stop to this behavior.
posted by Bardolph at 8:52 PM on December 31, 2010 [21 favorites]


It's been said many times in this thread already, and perhaps best by ashley801, but let me just nth the prevailing opinion that GGG is a bunch of crap. I generally don't look to funny gay writers for advice on my (hetero) sexual relationship with my wife, and neither should you.

Remember why we all read Savage Love: to chuckle over the amazing kinks that we've never heard of and can't imagine doing. It's like a movie or a comic strip, but it's certainly not a marriage manual.

Tell your husband to calm down, and get the two of you into some counselling. Good luck.
posted by math at 5:01 AM on January 1, 2011


From the OP:
Thanks so much for your responses... I wanted to clear a few details up lest you think I'm some poor waif in the storm. My husband is most definitely not limited to poly or exhibitionist experiences to get off. He's fully functional and a very caring and generous lover, and in all respects but this one stupid disagreement our relationship is wonderful, he's an excellent dad, etc.

As to going outside our relationship, he's played with a few people on his own and found it unfulfilling. Didn't "scratch the itch". We can and have taken video, photos, etc... I'm struggling with some post-baby body image issues so even this is less fun than it used to be, but is well within my comfort zone at the moment. It helps, but it's like eating a graham cracker when you want chocolate cake (my analogy, not his).

Part of the issue here is that his brain goes crazy when he's under stress (looking for emotional validation and relief from unrelated job/life pressure via sexual craziness in much the same way I'd seek relief via a big bowl of ice cream after a really hard day). I really truly want to be a partner who can help alleviate that stress in the way that is most helpful to him. But I'm pretty disengaged from the whole crazy playing thing so I feel we're at an impasse. I've suggested therapy for us, but he's not sure how that would help. I'll suggest it again. Here's an extreme wrinkle: He's just suggested taking an off-label (is that even the right term) drug for its side effects, to lower his libido. This is heartbreaking.

I don't think my husband is a manipulative bastard, and I really do think he's trying to do what's right and good and struggling hugely with some very strong urges. I just don't know what the hell to do. Saying "man up" feels like giving up/dropping the rope/abandoning him.
posted by jessamyn at 7:50 AM on January 1, 2011


I'll dissent here, even though it may be controversial. I think you need to dig deep into yourself, remember your love for your husband, this person you made a child with, try to understand his need for this sexual fantasy, and go with it, at least some of the time.

(He needs to dig deep in his soul for love for you too, but that's another story. He didn't write in.)

You love him, so you love him completely... and this is a part of him. I think if you stop having the spirit of GGG, which really is a spirit of giving and compassion for another's sexual needs, then you stop treating your partner with kindness, understanding, and love (for his whole sexual self).

It doesn't matter if the fetish is for blowjobs, PVC, or swinging and exhibitionism. Put your love into action and push through your feelings with some frequency (every few months? twice a year?) to give him what he needs. That is a way of showing love for him, just like bringing him coffee when you don't want to get out of bed, or giving him a present on his birthday. He could probably care less about getting a new scarf or electronic toy for his birthday, if you give him something he really cares about on a somewhat regular basis.

Love is an action. Show him you love him in a way that is meaningful to him.
posted by alternateuniverse at 7:56 AM on January 1, 2011


Part of the issue here is that his brain goes crazy when he's under stress (looking for emotional validation and relief from unrelated job/life pressure via sexual craziness in much the same way I'd seek relief via a big bowl of ice cream after a really hard day).

This is verging on sexual addiction. Seriously, we all like to blow off steam with sex sometimes, but when it's making your partner bitterly unhappy and/or you keep upping the ante, it's time to look at what's going on with the behavior.

If your husband was looking for validation and relief from a big glass of Jack Daniels or a triple order from Jack in the Box rather than jacking off with strangers, you'd encourage him to look at whether the behavior was under control, yes? Being sex-positive includes acknowledging that sometimes some people use sex as an escape from other problems in a potentially unhealthy way.

Please encourage him to seek therapy. Finding someone from the Kink-Aware Professionals list might be a good place to start for him.

Your desire to stay home and cuddle or whatever is just as valid as his desire to go out to an orgy. Like everything else in a marriage, you guys should be negotiating when it's Cuddle Time and when it's Orgy Time. It sounds like you're saying "But he NEEDS it" and ignoring that sometimes you NEED not to go out with him to the orgy. You count, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 AM on January 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


Put your love into action and push through your feelings with some frequency

I disagree wholeheartedly. People shouldn't "push through their feelings" and do sexual stuff that makes them actively unhappy--that's what's wrong with the Dan Savage approach. (And if Dan Savage's husband suddenly decided that what he wanted was for Dan to have sex with a woman, I betcha Dan wouldn't be so GGG.)

A better approach would be for both parties to find stuff that makes him happy and doesn't make her unhappy, at least. Best would be if they found stuff that got them both off.

Bringing someone coffee in bed is a gift, but it's not a gift that is likely to trigger anyone's trauma or internal shame. Sex is much more complicated than other interpersonal interactions, and pretending that's not the case just leads to resentment and unhappiness.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:25 AM on January 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


I don't think anyone is entitled to anything in life, much less sexual fulfillment. Letting go of some things and making compromises on others is a part of life. Males (and females I assume) the world over overcome this problem by watching porn. That's what it's for - fantasizing about situations that just aren't an option in real life. And it doesn't seem like some of your husbands fantasies are an option for you because they make you uncomfortable and you don't enjoy them. So get him a great kinky porn membership, make it clear that you're not dismissing his needs and offer to watch together sometimes. I could see that last part not going over well depending on the person and specifics of your relationship, but you get the idea of what I'm saying.
posted by smokingmonkey at 11:50 AM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think my husband is a manipulative bastard, and I really do think he's trying to do what's right and good and struggling hugely with some very strong urges. I just don't know what the hell to do. Saying "man up" feels like giving up/dropping the rope/abandoning him.

If he was struggling with an urge to do something else that has the potential to destroy your marriage how would you feel? How about if he had a strong urge to drink a bottle of whiskey every night?

If this is truly compulsive behavior and it's destroying your marriage then its clearly an unhealthy thing for him to do. Managing everyday stresses shouldn't be so difficult and self-destructive and I don't think lowering his libido is going to help unless he gets to the root of the problem which is his unmanageable stress level. The part of your brain that's ready to walk away from him knows that.
posted by fshgrl at 5:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Your partner's compulsiveness isn't a good thing. It's a thing, with varying degrees of health and usefulness. My compulsion to organise can be helpful (yay tidy house) or unhelpful (we need to leave now, stop folding clothes) or harmful (you haven't slept in 20 hours, please stop reorganising your files). The crux is that your partner's compulsions actively harm you - making you dislike sex and resent him is harmful to you and your marriage. His insistence on controlling YOUR response to stimuli is the most harmful part of it all I think - he is not concerned with your needs or wants, merely fulfilling some compulsive fetish. And that's not a fun place to be. Ramping down the libido will only help so much, when the compulsion isn't just about sex.

Even BDSM (usually) has hard limits. Perpetually bumping them does nothing for trust.

alternateuniverse: I think if you stop having the spirit of GGG, which really is a spirit of giving and compassion for another's sexual needs, then you stop treating your partner with kindness, understanding, and love (for his whole sexual self).

Where's the line with this sort of shit though? Just how much harm is enough for GGG to stop working? Just how much damage does a sexual relationship need to take before GGG stops being 'I'll help you get your end away, contrary to what I want' and becomes 'I'll do this but don't you fucking touch me because your disrespect and lack of care for me is disgusting, but you don't care enough to stop fucking hassling me'? I've been there and GGG doesn't help when one partner is demanding 'game' for something that actively erodes the relationship.

posted by geek anachronism at 9:22 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nobody ever said good giving and game was unlimited. Dan also talks about 'the price of admission.' it may have changed for you, and it may still be the same for him. So one of you will have to compromise. Looks like you've compromised plenty - it should probably be him, and the best solution is probably to play with others that are well known to you only.

He should also understand that your interest may come back later on.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:15 AM on January 2, 2011


I've tried very hard not to rant about Dan Savage in this post, but I do have to say, I think he's created a generation of young women who think they have to submit to unpleasant/unwanted sexual acts or else they are bad, selfish, horrible people. What that is going to do IMO in 10 to 15 year's time is create a lot of sexless marriages and divorces as the girls have turned into women who have had enough of giving what they don't want to give, and just decide not to do it anymore

As gently as I can put this- sometimes the woman is the one who's the kinky one with the weird sexuality, and unless you're referring to a minor, it's really not appropriate to call an adult a girl like that. Savage has re clarified his advice numerous times to say that he meant that while it is acceptable to expect your partner to be tolerant of your kinks, he's not telling you that you or your partner is bad if you don't want to do it their way all the time. One piece people forget is that vanilla sexuality is not the negative variety, nor is patting a furiously masturbating partner lovingly and going back to your book wrong.

I consider myself GGG, not because I give into every desire my pervy partner wants to force onto me, but because it is acceptable to me that during healthy, loving copulation, the thought that causes the orgasm switch to go "ping!" is not dirty or wrong- but the menu of activity and stimulating discussion is flexible in a fashion that pleases us both. It's the sexual extension of the rest of the relationship.
posted by Phalene at 6:14 AM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


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